Today, our Maymester had our farewell dinner by the beach and said our final goodbyes. During this trip, I really made some lifelong friends, and I can’t wait to reunite with them when the school year starts back up this fall. Not only were they great travel companions, but they really helped create a fun and welcoming environment/community.
There are so many things that I wish other study abroad students had told me before going on this trip, so here a few of the most important gems of information I have gathered during my trip to Portugal:
1. Where There’s a Will There’s a Way
Many times, students decide against studying abroad because of financial obstacles; however, this issue can be helped using multiple remedies. Scholarships, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, are great ways to alleviate the financial burden. Depending on your personal background and/or the type of program you are hoping to apply to, there are unique scholarships that can be uncovered with a little bit of research. The UT Austin Financial Aid Office is extremely helpful as well and can help you with budgeting, loans, and much more. (To find more funding opportunities, visit the Get Funding page.)
2. Be a Sponge
No, like actually. Be a sponge. Studying abroad provides a unique opportunity that normal vacations with family doesn’t. When immersing yourself in a new country, you can make individual decisions that influence how much fun you’ll have and how life-changing the experiences will be. When in a new country, be open to any and every cultural activity. When meeting new friends, make sure to be welcoming and friendly because who knows, they might just be one of your new best friends. When learning in and out of class, soak up all the new knowledge to become a smarter and a much more worldly person.
3. Don’t Forget to RELAX
Sometimes during these Maymesters, the workload from classes can be tough. It is important to remember that you’re there to enjoy a new country as well. Work hard in class and get all of your work done before you leave, so that you can drop your bags at home and explore!
This post was contributed by Alex Chiu, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in biomedical engineering. Alex is studying abroad on the International Perspectives on Design in Healthcare Maymester program in Porto, Portugal.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Alex’s experience abroad>>
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